June 25, 2014

Mount Rushmore Nebraska: Center

Previous Mount Rushmore pieces: QB l RB l FB l WR l OT l OG

Over the next few weeks of summer HuskerOnline.com will introduce a new feature called "Mount Rushmore Nebraska."

Similar to the legendary Mount Rushmore monument in South Dakota, HOL will recognize the "four faces" for each position in Husker program history. These are the four players Nebraska would choose to put on a monument for each position.

As you can imagine, narrowing it down to four players at each position is not an easy task. We also wanted to make sure that all eras in the program's history were included in this, so you will see players from as early as the 1920's included in our Mount Rushmore lists.

Today we continue the series with HOL's Mount Rushmore for the center position.

Rik Bonness - 1972-1975

The center position at Nebraska has a lot of history, and Bellevue native Rik Bonness arguably gets credit for starting it in the modern era. Bonness was a two-time first team All-American in 1974 and 1975 and a three-year starter overall. Bonness was drafted in the third round by the Oakland Raiders and played five seasons in the NFL. He paved the way for several more All-American centers to come at NU.

Dave Rimington - 1979-1982

Omaha native Dave Rimington was arguably the greatest offensive lineman not only program history, but also in college football history.

Rimington is the only two time winner of the Outland Trophy, as he captured the award in both 1981 and 1982. He also has an award named after him given to college football's top center. The Big Ten even recognizes Rimington by putting his name on the offensive lineman of the year award, along with former Ohio State great Orlando Pace. Rimington defines what it means to be an offensive lineman at Nebraska.

Aaron Graham - 1992-1995

Aaron Graham was a fixture on the great offensive lines for Nebraska in the 1990's, helping the Huskers win national championships in both 1994 and 1995. Graham was recognized as both a first team 1995 All-American and Academic All-American. The Texas native was drafted in the fourth round by the Arizona Cardinals and he played seven seasons in the NFL.

Dominic Raiola -1998-2000

Hawaii native Dominic Raiola is the last center at Nebraska to receive first-team All-American honors. Raiola was also the inaugural winner of the Rimington Trophy, given to college football's top center, as he took home the honors in 2000.

What's even more impressive is Raiola has been in the NFL since 2001 and he'll begin his 14th season with the Detroit Lions in 2014. He's considered one of the best centers in the NFL and was drafted in the second round after forgoing in senior year after the 2000 season.

Just missed the cut

Tom Davis - 1974-1977: Omaha native Tom Davis followed up Bonness at center and took home All-American honors in 1977.

Mark Traynowicz - 1981-1984: A 1984 first-team All-American, Traynowicz followed Rimington at center and helped lead things up front for NU's 1983 Scoring Explosion offense.

Bill Lewis - 1982-1985: Lewis continued a great run of All-Americans at center for Nebraska, taking home the honors in 1985. From 1981 to 1985 Nebraska had centers take home first-team All-American honors four times.

Jake Young - 1986-1989: A rare two-time first team All-American, it's hard to find very many players offensive line coach Milt Tenopir beloved more than the late Jake Young. The Texas native was a classic overachiever, and got the most out of his college career, despite not making it in the NFL. Young would eventually get into rugby, and tragically passed away in a bombing that happened in 2002 while competing at a tournament in Bali, Indonesia.

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